Comment

04/07/2022

In December 2021, Netflix released a comedy feature film, ‘Don't Look Up’. The film follows two scientists who discover an extinction-level comet heading for Earth, which they then attempt to warn humanity about. The makers of the film have publicly stated that the film is meant as a satirical metaphor for the response to the climate emergency. The film presents representations of science, scientists, and science communication. In this set of commentaries, experts have been selected to explore these representations and the lessons the film presents for using satire in science communication.

10/06/2022

The EU-funded RETHINK Project has demonstrated the critical need for transformational pathways in how science communicators navigate the increasingly challenging landscape of the field, in an era of growing public distrust, the expansion of online ‘mis-information’ digital platforms, and the resulting disconnection between science communicators and the general public. This Commentary seeks to locate, contextualise, and interrogate the good practice outcomes and recommendations of the RETHINK Project within the African regional scenario, and within the contexts, challenges and opportunities that exist therein. To achieve this, the author argues, African science communicators must actively pursue a radical and explicitly transformational agenda of intellectual Afrocentricity, the decolonisation of their practices and programmes, and address the multiple gaps inherent across the policy, practice, research, resources, and capacity-building divides on the continent. The prospects for the delivery of this agenda are further elaborated in a transformative and re-defined — ‘SMART’ Framework for Science Communication & Public Engagement in Africa.

10/06/2022

The invitation to ReThink science engagement is irresistible and timely. And that rethinking will be informed by the location in which its done. While ‘speaking for’ wide swaths of the world, in this case, Australia and its region, would be meaningless and probably not terribly useful, the call to ReThink science engagement with this place in mind is encouraging and welcome. The following commentary, then, will focus on what rethinking science engagement might look like from Australia with the guiding frame of “responsible science communication” at hand and some of the core concepts of ReThink at the fore — reflection, co-creation, and openness in science engagement. To add a counterpoint to the ReThink projects core concepts, I briefly suggest some further concepts to ‘trouble’ easy interpretations of approaches to science communication — reflexivity, co-production, and science communication for the public good. Taken together, all of these concepts provide a useful frame for some of the major issues and opportunities for science communication in our region but also highlight the tensions in current approaches to science engagement. These tensions are worth struggling over and unpacking in relation to global differences and aims for science engagement.

10/06/2022

Practitioners of responsible science communication in Latin American countries face context-dependent challenges ranging from high poverty and inequality to a public from an extremely varied palette of cultural backgrounds. Effort has been done in the region to foster a coherent community of science communicators. This article reflects on the history of science communication in Latin America and how these challenges are being faced.

10/06/2022

There are many different pathways into science communication practice and research. But rarely do these pathways require critical reflection on what it means to be a ‘responsible’ science communicator or researcher. The need for this kind of critical reflection is increasingly salient in a world marked by the wilful disregard of evidence in many high-profile contexts, including politics and, most recently, public health. Responsible science communicators and researchers are audience- and impact-focused, beginning their decision-making process by considering their audiences’ starting positions, needs and values. This article outlines some key considerations for developing socially responsibility for science communication as a field both in terms of practice and research.

10/06/2022

The Polish science communication field has grown into a robust and diverse community. Centralised and governmentally funded initiatives are complemented by more bottom-up actions led by academia, researchers, journalists and educators. Still, the main goals of science communication in Poland seem to be a diffusion of scientific knowledge and building trust towards science and scientist. The concept of openness and reflexivity could help to include the needs and perspectives of non-scientific audiences into science communication practice in Poland.

01/02/2021

Many of the earliest drivers for improved scientific literacy and understanding were based on the assumption that science and technology is all around us, and yet there are some spaces and communities that are neglected in science communication contexts. In this brief comment, Clare Wilkinson introduces a series of ten commentaries, which further probe neglected spaces in science communication.

24/11/2020

For many decades, NGOs and social movements have acted as “alternative” science communicators. They have made strategic use of science to promote their ideological stances, to influence political and/or economic decision-making and to motivate civic action. To date, however, our understanding of science communication in activism has received little critical attention. This set of commentaries acts as a starting point for further research and reflection. The different cases and perspectives urge readers to consider the impact, democratic legitimacy, and relevance of alternative science communication, and the challenges that alternative science communicators pose for science communication and society.

01/09/2020

In this series of comments, we argue for Science Communication as an enabler of transdisciplinary, integrative collaboration in the context of today’s complex, multi-stakeholder issues. Participatory design, as a collaborative method, is effective in achieving mutual learning, shared understandings, integrating disciplines and creating solutions that make sense in the multi-layered reality of today’s challenges. Science Communication, therefore, is communication design in transdisciplinary collaborations.

16/06/2020

This special issue of JCOM features six commentary articles from the research stream of the Australian Science Communicators conference, held in February 2020. These opportunistic assessments and deliberate analyses explore important themes of trust, engagement, and communication strategy across a diverse range of scientific contexts. Together, they demonstrate the importance of opportunities to come together and share the research that underpins our practice. The conference and these commentaries enable us to engage in professional development during these exceptional times when successful evidence-based science communication is of critical significance.

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